Sharks end season with 10-try romp

Coastal Sharks scored 10 tries in a season-ending 58-13 Super 15 victory romp over Southern Kings Saturday.

Sharks player Marcell Coetzee is tackled in Canberra on March 31, 2012. Coastal Sharks scored 10 tries in a season-ending 58-13 Super 15 victory romp over Southern Kings Saturday.

Backs and forwards shared in the try-fest by the Durban franchise as they came from behind to lead 26-13 at half-time and monopolise second-half possession.

It could have been even worse for bottom team Kings as Sharks centre Meyer Bosman missed five of nine conversion attempts at Kings Park.

The final conversion was handed to loose forward substitute Jacques Botes in a touch of season-end spirit, but his kick was predictably low, wobbly and short.

It was another harsh lesson in clinical finishing for the debutant Kings from Port Elizabeth, who lost all eight matches against South African sides.

They needed a bonus-point win to rise above Otago Highlanders of New Zealand, and took a second-minute lead via a try from fly-half George Whitehead.

But flank Marcell Coetzee dotted down off a driving maul soon after and Bosman converted to give the Sharks a lead they never looked like surrendering.

Sharks claimed a four-try bonus point after 33 minutes when awarded a penalty try after an infringement that led Kings flank Devin Oosthuizen to be sin binned.

Kings conceded another six tries during a torrid second half for them as they were starved of the ball and spent most of their time defending desperately.

Victory lifted the Sharks three places to seventh, although they could be overtaken by fellow South Africans Western Stormers later Saturday.

As the Sharks went into a post-match huddle, the 2012 runners-up to Waikato Chiefs of New Zealand would have reflected on a disappointing season.

After a bright start to the 16-match league campaign, they finished with eight victories and eight defeats, and coach John Plumtree lost his job.

New Zealand-born Plumtree paid the price for a five-loss mid-season slump and has been replaced by ex-Springbok centre Brendan Venter.

Director of rugby Venter has not announced who will coach the Sharks next season, although caretaker Grant Bashford is considered an unlikely choice.

Former Springbok hooker and captain John Smit recently took over as chief executive of the Durban outfit and his first act was to axe long-serving Plumtree.

Kings now prepare for a two-leg play-off with the Golden Lions, the team they replaced in the southern hemisphere championship.

The teams clash in Port Elizabeth on July 26 and Johannesburg on August 2 and the aggregate winners will represent South Africa in the Super 15 next season.

Coetzee, hooker Bismarck du Plessis, full-back Odwa Ndungane, fly-half Riaan Viljoen, prop Tendai Mtawarira, centre Louis Ludik, No.8 Keegan Daniel, replacement back Fred Zeilinga and Bosman scored tries for the Sharks.

There was also the penalty try and Bosman succeeded with four of five conversions before losing his goal-kicking touch.

Kings' try scorers were Whitehead, who also slotted a penalty, and flank Mpho Mbiyozo, one of several fringe players given a chance to impress.

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency